Shop Talk : Island convenience stores
Photo by Katryn Yerdon
Long gone, at least on this Island, is the convenience store that just offers the quick processed food to go and a gallon of milk. Now we can stop in for an Island-made snack, paperback books, whole foods, beach gear, and even perfume. I took a leisurely trip around the Island, stopping in at some of the hot convenience stops to see what else they might offer. To say I was surprised at some of my finds is an understatement.
Vineyard Haven hosts the most traditional convenience store, Cumberland Farms. While they stay true to their chain, they have added in some specialty vacation items like a wide array of paperback books for beach readers, DVD's for the rainy day, and fresh flowers to perk up the summer table. Xtra Mart offers more than just a gallon of gas or a great price on a gallon of milk with their fun selection of boogie boards, firewood to chase off a summer chill, and coolers to keep your food just right on the beach. The recently renovated Citgo Gas allows you to get your gas, along with a smoothie and sandwich.
Oak Bluffs has several convenience stops right in a row along the waterfront. DeBettencourt & Sons gas offers so many unusual wares in a small space. With a more limited selection of convenience items, you will also find cappuccino, farm fresh eggs, gift certificates, and even seeds for your garden. Our Market, a liquor store, has the established items with a few extras thrown in. The most unusual items are the Bobble, a water purification bottle, and their large selection of upscale cheeses including the To Die For Cheese line. They also offer Duraflame logs, sunglasses, wiffle balls and bats, kites, paddle ball sets, and a very big assortment of cigars to smoke with a great glass of scotch (purchased from them of course). Jim's Package Store has great gas prices, upscale food selections like whole cryovaced steaks from Kinnealey Quality meats, Nicky's flavored oils, cheeses, and fresh Wicked Whoopie Pies from Maine. They even carry the famous Austrian Riedel Wine Glass sets. In case you didn't know, the Riedel Wine Glass Company is renowned for "making the finest glasses for both technical and hedonistic purposes," according to their website.
Edgartown has several standout convenience options. The two I visited were both busy and each held some great additional finds, including my most surprising find to date. The Depot Market has added additional beach items such as beach chairs, boogie boards, kites, floats, beach games, squirt guns, Chinese YoYo's, toy missiles, and big towels. Finally, Sophia's One Stop Mart had the most surprising find. Two large glass display cases filled with perfumes and spa products. While certainly not what I expected to find at a convenience store, they definitely have made some great choices with the Nativa Spa and Babi Boti lines. They are certainly challenging us to rethink what convenience means on this Island.